B. Muralidhar Reddy

LTTE has used gases before,

says Army

Tigers’ finance chief Thamilendi killed

COLOMBO: The Sri Lankan military on Thursday reported capture of a large stock of gas masks and chemical resistant costumes from an LTTE camp at Udayarkattukulam in the Mullathivu district in the north.

The troops uncovered the stock as the military continued its steady advance into the remaining stretches of territory under the control of Tigers. The advance of the security forces has been delayed due to presence of large number of civilians.

The Defence Ministry, quoting an unnamed defence expert, maintained that the discovery of gas masks and chemical resistant costumes exposed a possible terrorist plot for a massive chemical attack against Sri Lankan soldiers. “The LTTE terrorists have been using chemical gases against Sri Lanka Army during last two years of battle. However, the inherent limitations of the chemical weapons failed to give the intended impact on the battlefield with soldiers well prepared to meet a chemical threat,” it said. The Ministry argued that the chemical-resistant costumes, used in close-quarter attacks, would have been intended for a direct assault supported by chemical weapons.

It said the troops had so far recovered 16 chemical resistant costumes and 17 gas masks in the stock. “The types of armoury found from the liberated areas of Wanni in recent times exposed the great disaster that Sri Lanka as a nation has been heading since the 2002 ceasefire. The LTTE had been allowed to import aircraft, heavy artillery, high-tech communication equipment, chemical weapons, etc. during the ostensible peace cherished by the short-sighted political leaders,” the Ministry said.

The Ministry further said troops in Ampalavanpokkanai, north of Mullaithivu recovered spare parts of LTTE aircraft.

PTI adds:

In a major set back for the Tigers, the LTTE’s financial wing chief, Subarathnam Selvatureiy alias Thamilendi alias Ranjith Appa, was killed on Wednesday in confrontations that took place in east of Pudukudiyirippu, military sources said. Thamilendi handled the outfit’s bank accounts, tax collection and all other financial matters, sources said.